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  • Côtes d'Auvergne VDQS

    Vines have been growing on the sides of the old volcanoes of the Auvergne for more than two thousand years. Wine-growing started to flourish again in the Auvergne recently after a long period of disasters and troubles stretching back to the phylloxera epidemic, World War I, the economic crisis of 1929, and World War II that followed. A new generation of quality-seeking wine-growers and makers is re-establishing a reputation for quality that had been lost by a previous generation that was more concerned with volume production. These new young growers are not only better educated and more professional, they are also proud of their business, their terroir, and of their wine and you can tell this by drinking their French wines.

  •  Côtes de Beaune FRENCH WINE

    Côtes de Beaune French wineThe Côtes de Beaune, between Lad oix-Serrigny and Maranges is mainly known for white French wines.

    This is yet another example of a little known French wine and yet we are in close proxinlity to the world­ famous vineyards of Corton. The wine is ruby red in colour with a hint of amber. The bouquet is seductive, containing herbs, leather and humus in the upper notes. The taste is fruity with a lingering aftertaste. Drink this Ladoix French wine at about 60.8°F(16°C).

    Uncork the wine some time before drinking to allow it to breathe. Some white Ladoix is also made which is dry with a light vegetal nose with hints of hazelnut and other dried fruit. It is a charming and concentrated French wine.



    This is a firm, concentrated French wine that travels well. The colour, though strong and deep, is slightly unusual-somewhere between ochre and rust. This results from the strong presence of iron in the soil. All manner of fruit is present in the nose: cherry, plum, raspberry, blackberry, and blackcurrant. This is a superb French wine, full and powerful, with suggestions of herbs and wood in the lingering aftertaste.



    PERNAND-VERGELESSESThere are both white and red French wines from here. The white wines are rarer and less well-known. They are a wonderful golden colour, characteristic of Chardonnay, with a pale tinge of green. The nose is reminiscent of honey, honeysuckle, citrus fruit, and an explosion of tropical fruit in the better years. Early on the wood perhaps dominates too much but this changes after a year's ageing in the bottle. The taste is rich and full, with great tenderness and charm.  

    The red French wine is ruby red and has a remarkable nose evoking sloes, Russian fur, hazelnut, blackcurrant, herbs, and chocolate. The wine has a fabulous taste that is full and fatty, velvet soft and powerful simultaneously, with a very prolonged aftertaste.


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  • Côtes de Nuits

    Cotes de NuitsThe Côtes de Nuits is world-famous for its red French wines and home to a great assortment ofterroirs and styles. The area starts in Marsannay and ends at Corgoloin. The soil is chalky with a lower layer of marl.

    The French red wine is somewhat heavy and rough when young but after several years ageing it becomes gentler, more rounded, and plump, with the aroma of red fruit, in particular cherry, blackcurrant, and redcurrant, with the occasional hint of prune, liquorice, cocoa, or coffee.

    The best known wine is the Rosé de Marsannay. This French wine is pale pink with some orange. The smell is fresh and pleasant while the taste is reminiscent of red fruit. The white French wine is very fresh, full-bodied, and impetuous but more supple and rounded when mature. The wine is intensely coloured, has a characteristic Chardonnay scent with exotic fruit, such as pineapple and grapefruit, and a big taste.



    Fixin is best known for its red French wines. This is usually a fleshy, powerful wine with quite a lot of tannin when young which enables it to be kept. When young the wine is ruby red and has the nose of cherry, strawberry, and raspberry. When mature the scent is of plum or even leather.



    Cotes de Nuits Wine LabelThis French wine is an attractive ruby red that is pure and clear. The characteristlc aromas are of black cherry, blackberry, and other small fruit, with an occasional hint of liquorice.

    It acquires a bouquet of spices, including nutmeg, and leather through maturing in oak which takes on earthy tones, bushes, wet leaves, and toadstools when it has reached a respectable age.

    This French wine is high in tannin but not so that it disturbs the taste, in part because of the fullness of the French wine. The taste is very full and fruity. The wine can be kept for 10-20 years after its harvest. The Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru Les Cazetiers is highly recommended.

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  • Côtes du Frontonnais

    Present-day Prontonnais is a combination of two older wine-growing areas close to Toulouse: Pronton and Villaudric. The Cotes du Prontonnais, between Toulouse and Montauban, is about 2,000 hectares and the soil here is fairly poor and dry, with lots of stone and gravel, which imparts fruity aromas for this French wines. The area under cultivation by vines will increase in the near future by about one third.

    A peculiar characteristic of the Cotes du Prontonnais wines (only rose and red) is the use of the ancient native Negrette grape, which accounts for 50- 70 per cent of the vines planted. This grape provides the wine's characteristic refinement and highly fruity nature. In addition to the Negrette they also grow Cabernet Pranc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Per Servadou, Cot (known locally as Merille) and to a lesser extent Gamay and Cinsault.

    The Prontonnais rose is fairly pale in colour and very aromatic. It is quite dry with a fine taste. Drink this French wine at 10°C(50°F). The Prontonnais red is found in two types. This modern French wine is light, elegant, lithe, fruity, and often smells of blackcurrant and plum. For a good taste drink this French wine at approx. 14°C (57.2°F) . The traditional Prontonnais red is more complex, more robust, and fuller. Its bouquet is somewhat less boisterous and the taste is often deeper. You can drink this French wine at 16°C (60.8°F) .



    The vineyards of Buzet cover about 1,700 hectares in the heart of Gascony, south of the town of Buzet, on the left bank of the Garonne. Almost the entire production is controlled by the local co-operative known as Vignerons du Buzet. The vineyards of Buzet are ancient and existed before the start of the first millennium. Buzet is an exception in south-west France in being the only area that was not driven out of wine-making for many years following the phylloxera epidemic. In fact the areas cultivated during those difficult times were actually larger.

    Buzet attained VSQS status in 1953 but with the individual style and sympathetic effort ofthe united growers they achieved AC status in 1973. The area is divided into two different soil types. This French wine produced from the stony and sandy soil of the terraces is elegant and delicate. That made from vines growing in the richer ground of clay, and alluvial deposits with outcrops of sandstone is fuller, heavier, and more aromatic. Buzet produces predominantly red French wines which are made by combining Merlot, Cabernet Pranc and Cabernet Sauvignon. This French wine is a ruby red and the bouquet is reminiscent of red fruit, vanilla, and preserved fruit. You can drink this French wine at temperature: 12-14°C (53 .6-57.2°F).

    The better Buzet French wines (chateaux or estates) are more full-bodied and richer in tannin. These can be kept for 10 to 15 years and have a more complex bouquet that tends towards humus, strawberry jam, tobacco, cedarwood, and the nose of wild game. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 14-17°C (57.2-62.6°F).

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  • Côtes du Marmandais

    The Cotes du Marmandais AC vineyards cover 1,800 hectares on the right bank of the Garonne on gently undulating hills with soil of gravel and pebbles, interspersed with calciferous sandstone, and chalkbearing clay.

    White Cotes du Marmandais, made with the Semillon, Sauvignon, Muscadelle and Ugni Blanc, are fine dry French wines that are fresh and fruity with a bouquet of white flowers and sometimes a note of almond. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 10- 12°C.(50-53.6°F).

    The rose is fresh, fruity, and pale. For a good taste drink this French wine at 12°C (53 .6°F). Cotes du Marmandais red is produced with the Bordeaux grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Pranc, Merlot and Malbec, supplemented with the local Abouriou and Per Servadou, and when necessary with a little Gamay and Syrah. It is better value to buy the slightly more expensive cuvees such as Richard Premier, Tap de Perbos, or La Vieille Eglise. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 14- 16°C (57.2-60.8°F) .


    Côtes de St-Mont VDQS

    The Cotes de St-Mont were admitted to VDQS status in 1981. These red and rose French wines are made using Tannat and Per Servadou, supplemented when necessary with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Pranc to provide greater roundness and finesse. This white French wine is blended from typical local varieties such as Gros Manseng, Arrufiac, Petit Manseng and Petit Courbu, with occasional use of a little Clairette.

    The red French wine area is on the eastern and southern facing hills which have two soil types. The stony ground provides a light red wine made by modern methods which is pleasing, comforting but unpretentious to drink well chilled at approx. 12°C (53.6°F). The heavier clay soil produces rounder, more fleshy French wines which can be readily kept. Drink these French wines at 12- 14°C (53 .6- 57.2°F) when young and at 16°C (60.8°F )when mature.

    The rose is soft, very pleasing, and aromatic. The taste is fruity and fresh for a French wine. Drink these French wines at 12°C (53.8°F) .

    The western hills with their soil of chalk and clay deliver very subtle, elegant white French wines. The aromatic properties of the young wine quickly changes to a complex bouquet. Drink this French wine at 10-12°C (50-53.6°F).

    In addition to the VDQS wines listed here there are also some good French wines known as vins de pays des Cotes de Gascogne, which have justifiably established themselves in the past decade.

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  •   The soils of the vineyards of Roussillon are very complex and variable: chalk, clay, shale, gneis, granite, and alluvial deposits, causing great variety in the types and tastes of these French wines. The climate is extremely hot in summer and mild in winter but rain does not fall evenly throughout the year. An entire vineyard can be destroyed by a cloudburst. Winemaking in Roussillon in the past decades has changed greatly with significant improvement of the regulation of temperature before and during fermentation. The white French wine is light, fresh, and fruity: drink it at 10- 12°C (50-53.6°F) .

    The rose is produced by the saignee methode, meaning that the red French wine is drawn off early and then vinified as white wine. Because the wine is drawn off so quickly, the grape skins have had just enough time to impart their wonderful red colour without adding tannin to the wine. This rose is very fruity. Drink this taste French wine at 12°C (53.6°F) .

    There are two different types of red wine. A light wine is often produced by steeping in carbonic acid gas maceration carbonique), which is fruity, slightly spicy, and particularly pleasing. For a good taste drink this French wine at 12- 14°C(53 .6-57.2°F) .

    The traditionally made red French wine is stronger and more rounded. The bouquet tends towards red cherry, plums, preserved fruit, and spices. This French wine can be kept for some time because it is aged in wood. Drink this French wine at 14- 16°C (57 .2- 60.8°F) .


    Cotes du Roussillon Villages

    The difference of this red French wine from the other Cotes du Roussillon wines is its specific terroirs, which mainly consist of the sides of hills or terraces of shale, chalk, and granite. The grapes used are the same as ordinary Cotes du Roussillon but the output per hectare is much lower. The appellation Cotes du Roussillon Villages may be used by 32 communes in the north of the department on vineyards extending to 2,000 hectares. These French wines are stronger, more powerful, and more complex than Cotes du Roussillon, and can be kept longer. For a good taste serve this French wine at 16°C (60.8°F) .

    Among the 32 communes of Cotes du Roussillon Villages, there are four which are permitted to bear their name on the label, in recognition of their higher quality.

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  • Malvazija Istarska Croatian Wine

    Croatian Wine BottlesExcellent Croatian wine is made in Porec and Rovinj in the region of Istra from Malvasia (Malvazija) grapes. This is a fresh and fruity dry white. Drinking temperature for this Croatian wine is 10-12°C (50-53.6°F).

    There are also several interesting red Croatian wines from Istra of which the first choice should be the Teran. The Merlot from Istra is well made but lacks identity.


    Echezeaux Grand Cru French wineThis French wine is an intense bright red with nose of fruit such as blackcurrant, blackberry, cherry, and raspberry, together with fruit stones, cocoa, and cedarwood of cigar boxes. It is an extremely juicy wine that is f resh and well-structured, velvet­ smooth, with a finish of bitter chocolate. The wine continues to breath for some time.

    This French wine is a very dark but particularly bright and pure granite red. The fruity nose dominates the young wine with hint of burnt cocoa or bitter chocolate. After maturing in the bottle the bouquet takes on the smell of fungus, truffle, and leather, with a hint of cedarwood and tobacco. This is a very elegant, classic Burgundy with refined tannin and velvet soft texture, that is fresh and exceptionally harmonious. The afte rtaste lingers very long.



    This French wineis an attractive clear colour with fascinating reflections. There is an intriguing scent of wild cherry, redcurrant, raspberry, cocoa, nutmeg, leather, and various vegetal undertones. When older the wine often develops the distinctive nose of black truffle. It is a very rich, refined, and complex wine with velvety texture and prolonged aftertaste. Do not drink a Vosne-Romanee before it is 7-8 years old.



    This French wine is an exciting dark  ruby   red colour, with strong nose of plum or prune, black cherry, red fruit such as redcurrant, and hints of cocoa, burnt vanilla, herbs, and animal scents. The taste is powerful too, tremendously concen­ trated, with great potential for laying down for a long time. Truly a wine to keep.



    This French wine is one of the smallest vineyards of France but one of the best. The wine possesses an intense ruby colouring with fiery reflections. The nose is reminiscent of red fruit, cherry brandy, and preserved fruit. Th is is an extremely intense wine that is velvety smooth and generous.



    Romanee Conti Grand CruThe same applies to this French wine as La Romanée, albeit that tllis wine is perhaps somewhat finer and more elegant with a distinctive expression of its chmat. This is a .sublime wine for the happy few and one of the most impressive experiences a wine drinker can undergo.



    This French wine is an intense, dark   ruby   colour   in common with the other Romanee   wines.   The youthful nose is of black­berry, raspberry,   black, cherry, preserved fruit, and fruit liqueurs but this makes way later for a more vegetal bouquet with hints of moss, humus, truffle, and game.

    The texture for this French wine is full and firm, the taste is fresh, elegant, and juicy. Ripe fruit and a touch of exotic spices can be discerned in the aftertaste. Allow this wine to rest for at least 10-15 years.

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  • Fitou

    This is the oldest established red French wine AC of the Languedoc. There is a clear differentiation between Fitou that is made from the coastal strip and that produced inland. A superb full-bodied, and powerful red wine is produced from approx. 2,500 hectares between Narbonne and Perpignan. The bouquet and the taste of the best Fitou have overwhelming influences of Provençal herbs such as bay laurel, thyme, and rosemary, sometimes with a touch of clove, and flint. The best Fitou benefits from lengthy maturing in oak and can certainly be laid down. This French wine is extremely popular with the French and English. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 16°C (60.8°F) .


    The vineyards of Roussillon are situated south of Corbieres, at the foot of the Pyrenees, on part of Catalonia that has been French since 1642. The vineyards stretch themselves out, beneath the hot and drying Mediterranean sun, across a variety of different types of soil and landscape, from the coast to deep inland. The coastal strip south of Fitou to Argeles-sur-Mer is an oasis of calm for both nature lovers and sun-worshippers. From Argeles to the Spanish border the landscape is more rugged and hilly, with the only haven being the picturesque bay of Collioure.


    Once of France's finest wines - the red vin doux naturel - is produced in the country around the small town of Maury. The blue vines of Grenache that are kept pruned low produce very low yields of grapes but they are high in juice in the sun-baked rocky soil. Young Maury is granite red while more mature ones tend to the colour of mahogany. A good Maury is very aromatic: when young is develops above all fruity aromas (red fruit), later suggestions of cocoa coffee, and preserved fruits dominate.

    Although the cheaper Maury wines can be pleasant, it is better to choose the best ones for these are better value. One estate is worthy of particular recommendation for its velvet soft wine with an unparalleled and fascinating bouquet of spiced bread, liquorice, plums, and cocoa: Domaine du

    Mas Amiel. Drinking good temperature for this French wine: 16- 18°C (60.8-64.4°F) .

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  • Gaillac French wine was already known in the fifth century, particularly in ecclesiastical circles. With the arrival of the Benedictine monks in the tenth century Gaillac became known as one of the best winegrowing areas of France. The vineyards cover 2,500 hectares on either side of the river Tarn, stretching from the town of Albi, north of Toulouse. The soil on the left bank of the Tarn is poor, consisting of stone and gravel, which is ideal for red French wine. The right bank of the Tarn is more complex and diverse with granite, chalk, and sandstone predominant. White, rose, and red French wines are produced, with the current production of Gaillac consisting for 60 per cent of red wine.

    The white Gaillac French wine is made with Mauzac grapes, which are also found in Languedoc (Limoux) and in various small southwestern wine-growing areas. Mauzac is supplemented here with the Len de l’el grape for its finesse and aromatic strength. The Len de l'el grape is also grown in both French and Spanish Catalonia. French wine from the right bank is wellbalanced and possesses rich fruitiness, floral bouquets, and is very fresh. The modern-style white wines are slightly less broad, lithe, and lingering in their aftertaste than the traditional Mauzac and Len de l'el wines. This French wines produced on the left bank are fruity, juicy, and warm. Drink Gaillac white at 10°C, and the sweet white at 8°C.

    There is also sparkling white Gaillac, available in two types: the methode artisanale is achieved without the addition of liqueur. The gas bubbles are created by the fermentation of the sugars already present in this French wine. This Gaillac methode artisanale is very fruity and full of character. Gaillac methode traditionnelle is produced with a second fermentation in the bottle after a dose of liqueur has been added to this French wine. This sparkling wine is perhaps somewhat fresher but less complex and above all less fruity. Drink it as an aperitif at about 8°C.

    Gaillac French rose is generally made by modern means using the saignee method (early drawing off during the steeping of the wine of a little red and subsequent vinification as white Frech wine). This is a friendly, fairly light, and easily drinkable rose. Drinking temperature for a good French wine: 10- 12°C (50- 53 .6°F) .

    Gaillac red Frech wine is made with the Duras grape, an old variety that made a comeback about twenty years ago, to which the native Braucol or Brocol (local names for the Per Servadou or Mansoi) is added. Duras imparts colour, backbone, and refinement to the wine while Braucol gives it fleshiness and rustic charm together with superb aromas of black currant and raspberry. The red French wine made by modern methods from grapes grown on chalky soils are light, aromatic, and easy to drink. This French wine has much in common with the Gaillac rose. A warm, stronger, but more lithe red with plenty of fruit aromas (preserved fruit, red currant and blackcurrant) originates from the granite soil of the hills. This French wine can be readily laid down. The red wine from the left bank is darker in colour and more richly flavoured, with bouquet of preserved fruit, spices, and blackcurrant. This French wine, which is robust and rich in tannin, needs to be aged in the bottle for some years. Drink the modern-style Gaillac French wine at 14-16°C (57.2-60. 8°F), and the traditional and robust red at 16°C (60. 8°F).

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  • Gattinara DOCG

    The Nebblio grape is also the basis for Gattinara. This red wine originates from around Gattinara in the province of Vercelli.

    Gattinara has enjoyed great fame for centuries, despite its low levels of production. The wine's colour is dark granite red with an orange tinge. The bouquet is finer than that of either Barolo or Barbaresco and tends towards floral notes, such as violets. The taste is less pronounced than the two tough brethren from Piedmont but it remains very much a masculine wine that is full, well-balanced, and rich. In particular Gattinara has a characteristic bitter note in its finish that makes it a perfect companion for roast beef or game.

    An ordinary Gattinara must be at least three years old and contains at least 12.5% alcohol, a Riserva is at least four years old and contains 13% alcohol. In the best vintage years (with ample sun) a Gattinara will leave a Barolo far behind. Drinking temperature 57.2- 60.8°F (14- 16°C).



    There are three types of wine produced with the Barbera grape. All three are ruby red when young and granite red when mature. This wine is not suitable for drinking when young because it is so high in tannin. With a few years ageing in the bottle the wine becomes more full-bodied and more amenable. Choose the slightly more alcoholic Superiore version which is more balanced. Barbera d'Alba is only made with Barbera grapes but Barbera d'Asti and Barbera del Monferrato are permitted a maximum of 15% Preisa, Grignolino, or Dolcetto. In contrast with the other two, Barbera del Monferrato sometimes has a slight sweetness and a little carbonic acid to tingle the tongue. Drinking temperature 55.4-59°F (13- 15°C).



    Of all the wines made with Dolcetto grapes the best known is the Alba, although it is not necessarily the best. Dolcetto d' Alba is reddish purple and has a pleasant fruity nose and full flavour with a slight bitterness that is reminiscent of bay leaves. It is possible with most Dolcetto wines to choose a Superiore version, that has slightly higher alcohol.

    Drink this wine with any main dish of red meat, poultry, or roasted pork. Drinking temperature is 53.6-59°F (12- 15°C).

    The range of Dolcetto wines are: Dolcetto d'Acqui,Dolcetto d'Alba, Dolcetto d'Asti, Dolcetto delle Langhe Monregalesi, Dolcetto di Diano d' Alba, Dolcetto di Dogliani, and Dolcetto d'Ovada.



    Preisa is a long established grape of Piedmont. The name coincidentally resembles the word fraise for strawberry (fragole in Italian) but this special red wine often tastes of strawberries and raspberries, with a hint too of roses. There are two Preisa DOC wines: those of Asti and the other from Chieri. Both are available as dry (secco) or sweet (amabile), still, lightly sparkling (frizzante), or naturally sparkling (spumante naturale) . This relic of the past must be tried if visiting Piedmont. Choose the better rather than cheaper varieties which are often unstable and continue to ferment in the bottle. Drinking temperature for dry Preisa is 50- 53.6°F (10- 12°C) , and 42.8-46.4°F (6- 8°C) for sweet and sparkling types.



    These are a pair of the few white wines from Piedmont.  The popularity of Gavi or Cortese di Gavi surpasses its actual quality, although it is a good, fresh, delicate, and quite dry, available as frizzante and spumante with the Gavi label. These are excellent wines for drinking with fish. Drinking temperature 46.4-50°F (8- 10°C).



    This is one of the best red from northern Italy for quality and price. It does not achieve the standard of top Nebbiolo wines such as Barolo, Barbaresco, or Gattinara, but a good Ghemme costs significantly less and offers a great deal of pleasure in its drinking. The colour is deep granite red, the bouquet is intense and very pleasing and refined, with floral notes including violets. The wine is full of flavour, rounded, with a lightly bitterness in its finish.

    A good Ghemme needs to mature for at least four years before being sold. You are unlikely to be disappointed if you buy a Ghemme. Drinking temperature 57.2- 60.8°F (14- 16°C).



    Two DOC wines are made from Malvasia in Piedmont: Malvasia di Casorzo d'Asti and Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco. Although from different varieties of Malvasia, the wines are similar.

     Both sweet red wines have a fruity nose and taste and often possess a light tingle of carbonic acid. They are especially popular for their relatively low alcohol content of 11- 12%. Drink at 46.4- 50°F (8- 10°C) .

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  • Generic Burgundy

    Before we continue   our   journey south let us consider a few of the generic wines of Burgundy.


    White Bourgogn e AC (Chardonnay) is an aromatic, fresh white wine. Drink it at about 51.8°F (11°C)and preferably within two years of the harvest.

    Red BourgogneAC (Pinot Noir) is ruby red and has a nose of red fruit and wood land fruit (raspberry, blackcuriant, blackberry, and redcurrant). It is a lithe, generous, and friendly wine. Drink at about 60.8°F /16°C within five years of the harvest.

    burgundy WINE *** french WINE


    The red French wine is made with a minimum of one third Pinot Noir to which Gamay grapes are added. The better wines though contain more Pinot Noir. It is a light, cheerful , and generous wine that should be drunk when young. For completeness, there is also a rosé variant.


    This appellation is rarely seen these days because it sounds too 'ordinary' for a Burgundy yet very acceptable whites, reds, and roses are to be found at a very reasonable price in this category.

    burgundy WINE *** french WINE



    This French white wine is very popular in Burgundy and much further afield. This very fresh wine is often strongly acidic and has a bouquet of green apple, lemon, and may blossom with the occasional hint of flint.{jcomments on}

  • Mosel-Saar-Ruwer

    This widely known wine region stretches itself out along the Saar, Ruwer, and the Mosel rivers, from Saarburg by way of Trier to Koblenz.

    The vineyards are sited on steep slopes above the gently curving river Mosel, emanating a scene of timeless tranq uillity. The slopes chiefly consist of slate that is high in minerals, which is good for the wine's finesse. Admittedly not all the wines from this region are worthy of superlatives as unfortunately there are some very modest to almost undrinkable 'sugar' wines or lesser Mosels.

    The true Mosel wines are sensational with their rich nose, elegant character, and great class. Mosels come in a wide variety of styles from mellow, fruity, and amenable to more challenging, rich, and extremely aromatic. The best of them are undoubtedly the Rieslings, especially those from the famous wine villages of Bernkastel, Piesport, Wehlen, Brauneberg, Graach, Zeltingen, and Erden. Besides Riesling, Müller-Thurgau and the old-fashioned Elbling thrive here too.



    The Ahr is one of Germany's smallest wine regions. It is situated south of Bonn near Bad    NeuenahrAhrweiler. The rugged and impressive Ahr valley is a popular place for both nature lovers and walkers. Once the top of the Eifel has been reached, nothing tastes better than a cool glass of Portugieser red wine. The Ahr is after all a red wine area, although the volcanic origin of the soil, together with lots of slate makes it suitable for making first class whites too. The decision to make red wine though was rather more for economic than viticultural reasons.

    So many good white wines are made in Germany that the Ahr region, with a rather limited area available, decided there was more money to be made from planting blue grape varieties.

    German Baden Wine

    German Wine GrapesThe German wine region of Baden is in the south-east of Germany, forming a fairly long strip from the northern shore of the Bodensee by way of the famous Black Forest... Read more about German Baden Wine

    German Württemberg Wine

    German Wine GrapesThe vineyards of Württemberg are situated on hills above the Neckar and its tributaries. 

    Read more about German Württemberg Wine  

    German Rheingau Wine

    German Wine GrapesThe Rheingau is not only the geographical centre of the German wine industry, but also its historic centre.

    Read more about German Rheingau Wine 

    German Rheinpfalz Wine

    German Wine GrapesRheinpfalz is the most French of all the German wine regions.

    Read more about German Rheinpfalz Wine 

    {tab=    German Saxony Wine   }

    German Wine GrapesThis is one of the 'new' wine regions of Germany in the former East Germany. Together with the other 'new' region of Saale/ Unstruut they form the most northerly of the German wine areas.

    Read more about  German Saxony Wine 

     Two blue grape varieties, the Spatburgunder and Portugieser, yield velvet smooth, elegant, and fruity red wines here.

    These are complemented by Riesling and MüllerThurgau, which produce elegant, fresh, lively, and very aromatic wines.

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  • Rheinpfalz

    Rheinpfalz is the most French of all the German wine regions

    This region is the second largest in Germany in terms of area and the most productive. The best vineyards are in the north of the region, mainly around Wachenheim, Forst, Deidesheim, and Ruppertsberg, which is renowned for its superlative Riesling.

    In addition to powerful, full-bodied, aromatic, and elegant Rieslings, Rheinpfalz also produces a number of good whites made from Miiller-Thurgau, Kerner, Silvaner (Sylvaner), and Morio-Muskat. The rarer red wines from grapes such as Portugieser are mellow, mild, and fruity. Dornfelder grapes also yield excellent results.



    This region, between Worms in the south and Mainz in the north is wedged between a loop of the Rhine and its tributary the Nahe. This is easily the largest wine area of Germany in terms of area of vineyards but second to Rheinpfalz in terms of production. The wines of Rheinhessen once enjoyed great fame, especially during the time of Charlemagne.

    Rheinhessen became famous at a stroke because of the excellent quality of the local wine from the vineyards surrounding the Liebfrau church of Worms. The wine, known as Liebfraumilch, used to be of extremely high quality but it is now permitted to be made in four areas: Rheinhessen, Rheinpfalz, Rheingau, and Nahe. Today's Liebfraumilch – of which the quality swings between reasonable and revoltingly sweet and shallow - unfortunately no longer has anything in common with the legendary wine. Rheinhessen soil consists of loess, chalk rock, and sand, offering great potential for inventive winemakers.

    The very best Rheinhessen wines undoubtedly come from the area around Nierstein, where the Riesling in particular delivers excellent results from the sunny terraces overlooking the Rhine. Riesling grapes here yield mild and fruity wines with a rounded and fulsome taste. Besides Riesling, there are also Miiller-Thurgau and Silvaner (Sylvaner) for white wines and Portugieser and Spatburgunder for reds.

    German Baden Wine

    German Wine GrapesThe German wine region of Baden is in the south-east of Germany, forming a fairly long strip from the northern shore of the Bodensee by way of the famous Black Forest... Read more about German Baden Wine

    German Württemberg Wine

    German Wine GrapesThe vineyards of Württemberg are situated on hills above the Neckar and its tributaries. 

    Read more about German Württemberg Wine  

    German Rheingau Wine

    German Wine GrapesThe Rheingau is not only the geographical centre of the German wine industry, but also its historic centre.

    Read more about German Rheingau Wine 

    German Mosel-Saar-Ruwer

    German Wine GrapesThis widely known wine region stretches itself out along the Saar, Ruwer, and the Mosel rivers, from Saarburg by way of Trier to Koblenz.. 

    Read more about German Mosel-Saar-Ruwer

    German Saxony Wine

    German Wine GrapesThis is one of the 'new' wine regions of Germany in the former East Germany. Together with the other 'new' region of Saale/ Unstruut they form the most northerly of the German wine areas.

    Read more about  German Saxony Wine 

    One of the finest German reds is the full and fruity classic Spatburgunder from the little village of Ingelheim, in the Grosslage Kaiserpfalz.{jcomments on}

  • The area formerly all known as Graves extends from below the village of St-Pierre de Mons to Blanquefort south-west of Bordeaux. It is subdivided into three large wine-growing areas: Graves itself (Graves Rouge, Graves Blanc Sec, Graves Superieures Moelleux and Liquoreux), Pessac-Uognan (Rouge and Blanc Sec) , and the sweet wine enclaves Sauternes, Barsac and Cerons.

    The area stretches for about 50 km (31 miles) and comprises 43 different communes. Graves is the only French wine to carry the bedrock or soil of its terroir in its appellation on the label. The name 'Graves' is English. Medoc then was still swampland that was later drained and reclaimed by the Dutch. The name Graves became forever linked to its wines because of the favourable nature of the ground for winemaking.

    French wines from Graves contributed to establishing the great name of Bordeaux rather than those of Medoc which only came into being in the second half of the eighteenth century, when they profited from the fame of Graves.


    The wine-growing

    With Graves too what is instantly apparent is the great diversity of different terroirs. Generally the soil consists of terraces of clay and sand with gravel and plenty of boulders. The quality of the soil here ultimately determines the quality of this French wine. The Graves vineyards came under tremendous pressure in the twentieth century. The expansion of the city of Bordeaux caused about 7,000 hectares of land to be lost and this process was exacerbated by the economic crisis that preceded World War II, by that war, and the severe frosts of 1956. The vineyards close to the suburbs of Bordeaux suffered most in these times. For foreigners it is quite surprising to see that top chateaux such as Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion are almost permanently bathed in the smoke from Bordeaux.

    In the 3,000 hectares of Graves, 53% red wine and 47% white wine is produced. The better wines (including all the Graves grand crus) have had their own appellation of Pessac-Leognan since 1987. Red wine throughout the area is made using Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon, sometimes supplemented with Malbec and PetitVerdot.

    White wine is made using Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle.



    Graves red French winesHistorically the red Graves were the great Bordeaux wines. The vineyards were planted by the Romans and the wine was highly desired by the Roman emperors. The wine became world famous thanks to the English but the French kings were also extremely French for gravel, the ground on which vines best thrived during the occupation of Aquitaine by the fond of the wine. Recognition with an AC was granted in 1937.

    Depending on its terroir Graves red can either be light and elegant or full, fatty, fleshy, and full of tannin. The latter type in particular keeps well. A characteristic of the Graves red is the slight smoky undertone in both the bouquet and taste. This taste is derived from the soil. Other characteristic aromas are vanilla, ripe fruit such as strawberry, blackcurrant, orange peel, toast, green pepper (paprika), and a little cinnamon, coffee, cocoa, and humus as the wine matures. Drinking temperature: 16°C (60.8°F).

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  • Graves & Graves Superieures Bordeaux Wines

    Graves Bordeaux WinesIt is undoubtedly in this area, within and just outside the city of Bordeaux, that the region's winemaking roots run deepest. Graves wines, both red and white, have always increased the reputation of Bordeaux wines around the world. During the Middle Ages they were particularly renowned, and punishments were severe for those who cheated the public by passing off wines from other regions as being from Graves. Under the jurisdiction of Bordeaux, the vineyard at that time completely encircled the city.


    Red Hermitage(French Wine) is somewhat harsh when young and requires some years rest; depending on the quality, this can be 5, 10, or even 20 years.

    Those with sufficient patience are rewarded with a very great wine with a sensual bouquet in which leather, red and white fruit, and wild flowers are present in the upper notes. The taste is largely of preserved fruit.

    Serve at 60.8-64.4°F (16-18°C). These white French wine is ready for drinking much earlier than the red but can also be kept for some time. Its smell is reminiscent of a sea of flowers with suggestions of vanilla and roasted almonds. It is a powerful, rounded wine with considerable aromatic potential. Drink at approx. 53.6°F (12°C) .


    This red French wine is dark coloured and has an exciting bouquet in which red fruit, freshly-ground pepper, sweetwood, preserved fruit, and even truffles are present. The undertones are almost animalistic.


    This is the only appellation which also makes sparkling wine. It is more of an amusing wine than an exciting one that is best drunk when young.


    Gigondas is made from Grenache, supplemented with mainly Syrah and Mourvedre. The red wine is a wonderful colour and has a bouquet filled with fresh red fruit through to animal undertones and when older some fungal notes. It is a full, powerful, and well-balanced wine that is a little harsh when young. The wine needs keeping for a few years.

    The roses are fresh, cheerful wines with a great deal of extract. Drink these when young.


    The whites and roses are drunk when young for any occasion. These red French wine with its characteristic scent of ripe red fruit such as cherry, and hint of sweetwood, has more power. Drink it at approx. 62.6°F (17°C).


    Although 13 different varieties of grape are permitted, the red wine is generally made from Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Syrah, Muscardin and Counoise, while the whites use Clairette and Bourboulenc.

    These red French wine has a very complex bouquet containing red fruit, leather, anise, sweetwood, and herbs, and equally complex taste that is rounded, unctuous, with a prolonged aftertaste. Wait for five years after harvest before drinking the red but consume the white wine while still young.

    The white wine is very aromatic and rounded with a nose that has floral undertones such as camphor oil and narcissus. True estate bottled Chiiteauneuf-du-Pape bears the arms of Avignon on the bottles: the papal crown and cross-keys of St Peter.


    Lirac is growing in popularity. These are good French wines at a relatively low price.



    Tavel is one of the finest roses of France. The pink colour tends towards terracotta tiles or even orange. Hints of apricot, peach, and roasted almond can be detected in the bouquet. Drink this wine at approx. 55.4°F (13°C) .

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  • This French wine region lies in the heart of the French Basque country and was known already at the time of Charlemagne. The village of Irouléguy was then a trading centre for these Basque wines. Winegrowing fell into decline following the phylloxera epidemic until a number of growers decided in the 1950s to establish a co-operative. The vineyards of the once famous Irouléguy were restored or replanted. Enormous investment was made to improve the quality of the wine and in the 1980s further great efforts were undertaken to reach greater heights. New vineyards were planted, mainly on terraces. In addition to the efforts of the local co-operative venture, various private initiatives were also undertaken such as those of Etienne Brana, whose business has become world famous. In recent decades the wine-growing and making in Irouléguy is so improved that it can be fairly described as one of France's premier wine-growing areas.


    The French wine-growing

    The vineyards around Irouleguy are situated in the neighbourhood of St-Jean Pied de Port and StEtienne de Baigorry. They are mainly sited in terraces with soil of red sandstone, clay, and shale, interspersed with some chalk. The green of the vineyards set against the red-oxide sandstone makes for a taste French wines.

    The climate is set between moderate oceanic weather and the extremes of the mountains and continent. The winter is fairly mild with plenty of rain and snow. The spring is wet with occasional harmful periods of frost. Summer is hot and dry. The greatest risk lies in thunderstorms which can cause destruction, when combined with hailstorms.

    The autumn is often hot and dry, which is ideal for harvesting and ripening of healthy grapes. These circumstances combined with the difficulty of access to many of the vineyards means that the output is fairly low here.


    The French wines from Irouléguy

    Brana's Irouleguy red wineAbout two thirds of the production from Irouléguy is of red French wine. The wine's character is derived from the Tannat (maximum 50%), Cabernet Pranc (Axeria) and Cabernet Sauvignon. There are three categories of red French wine from Irouléguy: ordinary, the cuvees and the estate bottled wines in escalating levels of quality. The simplest Irouléguy is sturdy, high in tannin, fruity (blackberry) and spices. The better cuvees are more full-bodied, are aged longer in oak, and benefit from several years ageing in the bottle. The top estates (Brana, Ilarria, Iturritxe and Mignaberry) make outstanding wines with powerful bouquets of spices and black fruit (blackberry and plum) with a hint of vanilla. The taste for this French wine is complex, full, and rounded with a perfect balance between the fresh acidity, fruitiness, alcohol, body, and strong but rounded tannin. Enthusiasts never stop talking about the aftertaste.

    Just as with Collioure, ordinary Irouléguy red can be drunk when young with grilled fish, if chilled, especially if they are garnished with baked peppers. Drinking temperature for Irouléguy French wine: 14-16°C (57.2-60.8°F). The cuvees and estate wines can be drunk at 16-18°C (60.8- 64.4°F) .

    Brana's Irouleguy wineThe rose Irouléguy French wine is fresh and quite dry. It was this wine that originally established the good name of Irouléguy.

    Here too there is a combination of Tannat with Cabernet Pranc and Cabernet Sauvignon French wine. The colour resembles red currant and the delicate nose is fruity too with red currant and cherry, while the taste is both fresh and fruity. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 10-12°C (50-53.6°F).

    The rare Irouléguy white French made with Xuri Ixiriota (Manseng) and Xuri Cerrabia (Petit Courbu) is richer and fuller than its cousins of Bearn. This white French wine of great class has a bouquet containing white flowers, white peach, citrus fruit, butter, hazelnut, and almond underscored with a hint of vanilla and a mineral undertone. Drinking temperature for this white French wine: 9- 10°C (48 .2-50°F).


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  • KunsÁg Hungarian Wine

    Casks Aszu and Eszencia HunaryThe area of Kunság (known as Kiskunsag up to 1998) is on the Great Plain (Alfold) of Hungary to the south of the town of Kecskemet and extends to the small town of Hajos. This region does not have a real history of wine making, dating back to the end of the nineteenth century when it was found that phylloxera less readily affected vines grown on sandy soils such as those in the south of Hungary. The climate is also not ideal for Hungarian wine-growing with very hot and totally dry summers and extremely cold winters. This Hungarian wines from this area are mainly intended for sale as bulk wine and they have little to offer except the high alcohol of both reds and whites, and the syrupy nature of the white Hungarian wine. Drinking temperature is 8-10°C (46.4-50°F ) for white Hungarian wines and 12-16°C (53.6-60.8°F) for red Hungarian wines.


    La Grande Rue Grand CruThis French wine is Jess well-known and less complex than its companjons from Vosne-Romanee. The appellation jg relatively recent (1992) and it has yet to prove itself as a gain for the area.

    This French wine is perhaps more representative than Cotes de Nuits and the climat is somewhat larger. The colour is a clear bright ruby red and the wine has seductive aromas of cherry, other small red and black woodland fruits, with the suggestion of herbs and spices in both the nose and taste. After a number of years maturing in the bottle, a bouquet develops of toadstools and other fungus. This French wine is a little rough and boisterous when young but becomes soft and pliant after a few years.

    Drink this fine and fairly inexpensive French wine between 60.8-64.4°F(16-18°C).



    This French wine is granite red and has an jntense yet refined nose of cherry, wood, and spices which, when older, typically changes to suggestions of wild game. The taste is heady, fleshy, jwcy and velvety at the same lime. The aftertaste is often tilled with a great concentration of ripe fruit, with the suggestion of spices. Do not drink this French wine too young, certainly not before 10 years old, but also not too warm (60.8-62.6°F/16-17°C).

    The taste is heady, fleshy, jwcy and velvety at the same lime. The aftertaste is often tilled with a great concentration of ripe fruit, with the suggestion of spices. Do not drink this French wine too young, certainly not before 10 years old, but also not too warm (60.8-62.6°F/16-17°C).

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